Although the right to strike is not constitutionally protected in the U.S., it is protected for private sector workers under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act as concerted activity for mutual aid and protection. Federal employees and most state and local government employees do not have the right to strike, but several states permit work stoppages by non-essential personnel. Most collective bargaining agreements contain no-strike clauses forbidding work stoppages during the term of such contracts. Sympathy strikes by private sector workers supporting strikes by employees bargaining over new contract terms are usually protected as concerted activity for mutual aid, Secondary strikes by the employees of secondary firms doing business with the primary companies invovled in labor disputes are generally forbidden under Section 8(b)(4) of the NLRA. Slow-down and sit-down work stoppages are not unlawful per se, but are unprotected activities that may lead to worker terminations due to the inappropriate disloyalty shown toward the affected employers. Strikes designed to organize employees or to obtain bargaining recognition from target employers are severely restricted under Section 8(b)(7) of the NLRA.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-108; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-108
Charles B. Craver, The Right to Strike and its Possible Conflict with Other Fundamental Rights of the People in the United States at XX World Congress of Labour & Social Security Law (Sept. 2012)